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Finding Nukes for America's Navy

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Story by CPO Brian Dietrick on 07/03/2019
By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Brian Dietrick, Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Ohio River Valley Public Affairs

COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 26, 2019) Finding qualified men and women to join the Navy is a challenge, and it gets much tougher when you're seeking talent for one of the most academically tough fields in the Navy, nuclear power.

Sailors in this field operate as nuclear technicians, power plant operators and subsystems specialists and they are responsible for keeping Naval submarines and aircraft carriers running. These highly trained, hands-on professionals perform the complex technical functions, which range from operating nuclear propulsion plant machinery, to controlling auxiliary equipment that supports Naval reactors, and maintaining various electronic, propulsion and weapons systems.

Electricians Mate (Nuclear) 2nd Class Douglas Ryles is a nuclear scout for Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Ohio River Valley, and he finds the undertaking a little easier because he went through the process himself. He knows he can speak intelligently about the advantages of working in the Navy nuclear program as well as discussing what it can offer Sailors in nuclear operations.

The Burlington, Kentucky native joined the Navy seven years ago because he wanted a challenge and an adventure, and he felt the Navy offered both. He completed boot camp, spent a year and a half at the Nuclear Power Training Command, and then he chose become a submariner and was stationed with the crew of ballistic missile submarine USS Tennessee (SSBN 734).

After this tour in the submarine's homeport of Kings Bay, Georgia, he was eligible for reassignment to shore duty where he could start thinking about reenlisting in the Navy or returning to the civilian job sector with his naval nuclear training and experience. With such a life changing decision at hand, he chose to stay in the Navy and become a Navy recruiter in his hometown near family and friends.

As a nuclear scout, Ryles typically spends his day assisting the sourcing specialists and assessors, ensuring personnel are qualified and have all the necessary paperwork for the nuclear program. He also speaks to applicants about what career path they are eligible for, what educational opportunities would be available to them, and what to expect when they go through the nuclear program.

"In the Navy there are so many great opportunities for education ... it is unreal," said Ryles. "You can have more than half of your degree done just by completing basic nuke' [nuclear] school, and many college degree plans will link up with the Navy nuke program."

Another added benefit Ryles likes to mention to applicants is the very high advancement rate.

"The Nuke rate of advancement is much higher than other Navy jobs, and you get advanced to third class petty officer right after school," said Ryles. "I've even seen some people make master chief in 12 or 13 years."

Ryles came to NTAG Ohio River Valley in January 2019, and when asked what his favorite aspect of recruiting was, he simply said "the kids."

"I really enjoy conducting classroom presentations at schools and talking to the students who are interested in the nuclear program and/or the Navy," said Ryles. "Talking to Future Sailors at the DEP [delayed entry program] meetings is great too. I give them more details about what it is like and how to better prepare themselves before they ship off to training. That is really rewarding. Actually seeing students join the Navy, leave for training and eventually reach out after they have graduated there is so much pride in that!"

When he is not searching for the best and brightest, he enjoys spending time with friends and family in and around Cincinnati, playing video games with his nephew and reading. He says he is also a diehard Kentucky Wildcats basketball fan and is glued to the television during March Madness.

While recruiting on shore duty, Ryles has had time to think about his future after his current enlistment ends and what he plans for his next adventure. He says the Navy has been a great experience and is not something he is going to totally give up. He plans on transferring to the Navy Reserve and finding employment as an electrician around his family in friends in southern Ohio or in Kentucky.

"I want to be able to be close to family and still give back to my country by serving the Navy, said Ryles. "In the Navy reserves, I can still do that and even more."

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, NTAG Ohio River Valley's mission is to man the Navy fleet with the highest quality Sailors and maintain the Navy's unchallenged worldwide maritime superiority and ability to win wars, deter aggression and maintain freedom of the seas. NTAG Ohio River Valley operates 56 Talent Acquisition Stations and four Navy Officer Recruiting stations throughout Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia.
For more news from NTAG Ohio River Valley, visit us on the web, http://www.cnrc.navy.mil/pages-nrd/ohio/default.html; and on our Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/NTAGOhioRiverValley.
Navy Recruiting Command (NRC) consists of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, 18 Navy Recruiting Districts and eight Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,330 recruiting stations around the world. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to ensure the ongoing success of America's Navy.

For more news from Commander, NRC, visit http://www.cnrc.navy.mil. Follow Navy Recruiting on Facebook (www.facebook.com/NavyRecruiting), Twitter (@USNRecruiter) and Instagram (@USNRecruiter).


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